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Syria opposition figure slams Munich agreement, says it allows Russia to continue air raids

February 15, 2016 at 2:39 pm

A top Syrian opposition figure slammed on Sunday the agreement signed between the major powers which provides for the cessation of hostilities in Syria, saying it allows Russia to continue air raids against civilians.

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The head of the Saudi-backed Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee, former Prime Minister Riad Hijab, called for action not words.

Speaking at a security conference in Munich, Hijab criticized the announcement that Russia would not halt military action, questioning whether this was a “seriously acceptable position for the international community”.

“We have gotten used to conferences and hope put into words, but what we need is action and the action I see is that Russia is killing Syrian civilians,” Hijab said, adding that Russia is currently protecting Daesh.

“The Syrian people continue to live in terror and utter despair after the international community has failed to prevent the gravest crimes,” he said.

“Why is the onus on the opposition and whether it has preconditions for negotiations? I would like to see a single day of a cessation of hostilities in order to give a chance for real political movement,” said Hijab.

Diplomats from a group of countries, including the US, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, agreed on Friday to seek a temporary “cessation of hostilities” within a week and to “accelerate and expand” the delivery of humanitarian aid to besieged Syrian communities beginning this week.

Speaking before Hijab, US Senator John McCain also criticised the deal. He said: “Let’s be clear about what this agreement does: it permits the assault on Aleppo to continue for another week. It requires opposition groups to stop fighting, but it allows Russia to continue bombing terrorists — which it insists is everyone, even civilians.”